Compensation for an Anaesthesia Error During an Operation

Will my wife be entitled to claim compensation for an anaesthesia error during an operation, in which she suffered excruciating pain yet could not alert the surgeon?

It is hard to imagine a more traumatic medical error than anaesthetic awareness during an operation, and the repercussions of such a horrific experience have consequences far beyond the pain and suffering caused at the time; it is therefore important that a claim for compensation for an anaesthesia error during an operation, and your wife should be entitled to make a claim.

When a patient undergoes a surgical procedure, the anaesthetist must plan for the operation and calculate the correct level — and type - of anaesthetic to use. This must be based on the medical history of the patient and the results of preoperative diagnostic tests. Throughout the operation the patient must have their vital signs monitored, and corrections made to the level of anaesthesia if any signs of the patient regaining full or partial consciousness is suspected.

Even a minor error made during the preoperative tests and planning stage can cause anaesthetic awareness during an operation, although in the majority of cases it is caused by poorly executed administration of the anaesthetic. Even when an error is made, it should be identified and corrected if the patient’s vital signs are being correctly monitored.

Serious psychological repercussions are all too commonly suffered after such a terrifying experience including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, severe anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, flash backs and depression. Often these mental health issues are so severe that a patient is unable to live a normal life or return to work, causing severe financial problems for the whole family.

An injury claim for an anaesthetic error can be made for psychological problems which have been suffered, provided the mental health problems can be diagnosed by a psychologist. Recompense will also be awarded for the pain and suffering caused, and any financial repercussions from the error - such as loss of earnings and prescription drugs — can also be recovered.

In order for your wife to make an injury claim for an anaesthetic error, it must be proven that she suffered from anaesthetic awareness during an operation, and you will require assistance from a personal injury solicitor in this regard. A solicitor will contact the anaesthetist, surgeon and other parties present to obtain an explanation, and further information about the case will also be collected; such as the type and dose of anaesthetic used. The case will then be evaluated by an anaesthesia specialist to confirm that compensation for an anaesthesia error during an operation can be claimed. A solicitor will also accurately calculate the amount of anaesthetic error compensation that can be recovered and will pursue the maximum possible settlement from the HSE/insurance company.

An award of anaesthetic error compensation will not turn back the clock or cure any psychological problems that have developed, but it will at least ensure that you or your wife will not be made to suffer financially as a result of such a terrible medical mistake.